A Day in the Life

  guest post by  Heather Kirtland

guest post by Heather Kirtland

I will start with the disclaimer that the middle of my day depending on the weekday changes drastically.  I try to devote Monday mornings to administrative task, Tuesday is my studio day, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday I work as a hair stylist and Friday’s is a swing day.  (I either paint, package orders or clean the house.)


Because my life can seem all over the place, I find to keep my sanity I stick to a routine for both my evenings and nights.  I wake up between 5 & 5:30 depending on how often my 3 year old has been up inthe night.  (Taking suggestions on ending that, anyone?)



This is my time, the house is quite I enjoy my coffee, make a to-do list, write, catch up on social media and even sometimes on my DVR.  Once I am awake enough I workout for about 30 min.  I find the more I stick to this, the better I feel and this is the only time of day I can be guaranteed to fit it in.  By this time my two kids are up and so begins the whirlwind of packing lunches and getting everyone ready.  I get my oldest on the bus, and my youngest and I drive to my studio (my mother’s garage).  


While my son plays with his Ya Ya, I get time in the studio.  My encaustic and oil painting supplies are here.  (My acrylic studio is a corner of a room in my home.)  So today I focus on encaustic, but a lot of days I jump back and forth between my table of encaustic and easel that a current oil painting is roosting on.  I have a few rituals to mark some sort of mental division between my busy morning and my studio practice.  It starts with rolling up that garage door and letting in the outside.  (That can be good or bad, depending on the weather.) I always work with the garage door open.  It lets in nice light and has the added advantage of ventilating the space when I work with encaustics.  I plug in my griddles and crockpots and while they are warming up I take inventory.  Some days I have an agenda and a strict work load of what needs attention, but today I get to play a bit as I am working on a new technique and the only way to figure it out is to mess around.  I like to listen to NPR or a podcast while I work.  


I also spend some of my studio time taking pictures that I can use for social media.  I love taking studio shots, there are so many awesome little vignettes that create themselves.  There is nothing like a good behind the scenes.  I try to record some Instagram stories and some videos to post later, but if I’m in the zone I usually forget.  During my lunch break I’ll answer a few emails and touch base on social media again and then paint for a few more hours.


 photo credit: Kirsten Smith Photography

photo credit: Kirsten Smith Photography


Although there are a lot of challenges balancing family life and a creative life one of the perks is that is forces me to have an off button.  So, most days I head out of the studio to get my daughter off the bus.  If there are days where I need more time, my mom will do that for me and I can work late. (I am one lucky chick)   


My evenings revolve around the family. Homework, straightening up the house and prepping for the next day.  That prep is crucial for having a clear head.  We always sit down for dinner around the table just about every night.  This is important to me so I make it a priority.


After dinner I can find some time to answer a few emails and do a few admin task, but playing with the kids trumps that.  Once everyone is in bed, I head to bed too.  I am not very productive at night, my brain doesn’t function on all cylinders.  I do finish up with some marketing and social media, and I love to read so I try to get a chapter or two in and then lights out.


SpotlightGrace Gulley